In the world of design—whether it is web, digital graphics, or print—the budget for resources can be limited or non-existent, especially if you’re a freelancer or small business. That being the case, it falls upon one’s self to find alternative means of procuring amazing stock photos, fonts, and other materials one may need or not have the time to develop. Considering that I’ve had to diligently scour the internet over the years in an effort to find various resources, I thought I would take the time to list out my top five sites to grab great design freebies from!
5. CreativeMarket.com (https://creativemarket.com/free-goods)
Creative Market is a fantastic community for designers, developers, and anyone who loves digital graphic resources. Where there is an option to become a paid member of the site, every week there are “Goods of the week,” from some of their best contributors. There are usually 6 at a time. To download, you just need to create a free account—they don’t spam you or anything, either. What’s really great is that if you have a Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/), you can sync files directly to it.
Not only is Creative Market a great place to find things like photos, fonts, Photoshop add-ons, web themes, and marketing collateral templates, but they produce a unique, informative blog about everything from “How to Design Packaging for a Handmade Business,” to “10 Tweaks to Your Morning Routine to Boost Your Creativity.” What is really great is that Creative Market is a true community of artists, writers, and developers. Users can open their own “Shops” and Creative Market gives them the tools and opportunities to share and sell their work.
4. Pixeden.com (http://www.pixeden.com/free-design-web-resources)
Like Creative Market, Pixeden has the option to subscribe to a paid service, but with their extensive “Free” area, users have access to an extensive library of photorealistic mockups, print templates (business cards, flyers, etc), icons, web themes, and more. To download freebies, you simply need to create a free user account. They don’t spam your inbox, they don’t give out your information, and they always add 3-5 free resources a month, which means their library continues to grow.
For access to “Premium” files, there are various payment methods, but the basic package is $10/month. While the Premium items are great, their free resources are in no way inferior. If you need something very specific, there may be an occasion you’d want to pay for something, but honestly, I’ve never had to pay for anything from Pixeden. Their freebie library is so large and the work they produce is incredible, that I’ve just never needed to “upgrade” my account.
3. FontSquirrel.com (https://www.fontsquirrel.com/)
Font Squirrel is my #1 go-to when it comes to finding a font. I will always go to Font Squirrel before I go anywhere else. Perhaps the best reason for this is because I know that downloading a font from Font Squirrel won’t riddle my computer with some sort of awful virus. With so many different forms of virus-checkers now, this is becoming less of an issue, but downloading anything free off of the internet can still pose a risk. When I download a font from Font Squirrel, I feel safe.
Their font library is extensive, and although it is large, it isn’t too big, which means I don’t get overwhelmed when I try to find “that perfect font.” Another thing that is really fantastic is that all of Font Squirrel’s are completely free for commercial use. Font licenses can be difficult to understand at times. Sometimes, even if you pay for a font suite (which can cost hundreds of dollars), you may not have the appropriate license you need to use it for your brand, and then you have to pay for an additional license. Font Squirrel alleviates that problem entirely.
Font Squirrel also has a useful feature called “Font Identifier,” which allows you upload an image with the font you’d like to find to download, and it will match the font. It is very thorough and I have used it more than several times.
2. GraphicBurger.com (http://graphicburger.com/)
I don’t know why, but Graphic Burger (don’t laugh at the name) is always the last place I look for something, and usually the only place I ever find it. I love Graphic Burger. They have one of the most extensive free libraries I’ve ever seen. Between free stock photography, photorealistic mockups (some of the best!), and more, this is always the place I know I can find what I am looking for.
For me, the most important things I can find here are the mockups. These are ways to show off products and materials in the best way possible, without having to schedule an extensive (and perhaps expensive) photoshoot of your product, or if you lack the resources to do so. They are great tools for presentations, portfolios, proof of concepts, and more.
1. Unsplash.com (https://unsplash.com/)
Unsplash.com is, by far, my favorite, free source for stock photography. Unsplash and sites like it have heavily influenced the stock photography industry. At Unsplash you can find premium, high resolution (most important), real photos. In an age where more and more users are craving authenticity, Unsplash is definitely a designer’s asset. The photos contributed are absolutely stunning, and not a single image has a “stocky,” or “fake” feel to it.
With over 50,000 photos contributed by professional photographers, their library is thorough, and there’s no reason to use the same photo twice. All of the photos are completely free for commercial use and you can pretty much do anything you’d like with them. Best of all, there are 10 new photos posted every 10 days, which keeps the library growing.
By: Jen G Anders, for AMI LC13